October sees the publication of the third and final volume of Autobiography of Mark Twain, chronicling the author’s inner and outer life through a series of daily dictations that go wherever his fancy leads.
Created from March 1907 to December 1909, these dictations present Mark Twain at the end of his life: receiving an honorary degree from Oxford University; railing against Theodore Roosevelt; founding numerous clubs; incredulous at an exhibition of the Holy Grail; credulous about the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays; relaxing in Bermuda; observing (and investing in) new technologies. The Autobiography’s “Closing Words” movingly commemorate his daughter Jean, who died on Christmas Eve 1909. Also included in this volume is the previously unpublished “Ashcroft-Lyon Manuscript,” Mark Twain’s caustic indictment of his “putrescent pair” of secretaries and the havoc that erupted in his house during their residency.
Only partially published up to now, the whole Autobiography of Mark Twain has been critically reconstructed and fully annotated by the editors of the Mark Twain Project. At last it is made available as it was intended to be read. The text of all three volumes, with annotations and full critical apparatus, is available at Mark Twain Project Online.